Canon SL1 vs Nikon D3300

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The Canon SL1 was released in March 2013 whereas the Nikon D3300 came out in January 2014. Although there is a gap of less than one year between them, this Canon SL1 vs Nikon D3300 comparison will show you that they are interesting cameras even if they have different sensors and image resolutions.

Canon SL1 vs Nikon D3300 Overview

Products of rival brands, the Canon SL1 and the Nikon D3300 are both great entry-level cameras thanks to their affordable prices. They come packed with features such as a high ISO range, large screen sizes, and connectivity compatibility.

Person holding a canon camera

Canon SL1 Overview

The Canon SL1 is part of Canon’s famous Rebel series. A compact camera that is highly affordable, the Canon SL1 will make you a lifelong Canon fan thanks to its features which include 9 focus points, and a ISO range that goes up to 12800.


Generous use of plastic has given the Canon SL1 a compact and lightweight look. It comes with a 3-inch LCD touchscreen which allows you to adjust settings with ease. Its 9-point autofocus system has a high-precision dual cross point in the center. The controls the Canon SL1 gives you are unheard of in cameras in this range.

Image Quality

The Canon SL1 offers an 18 MP resolution which can capture your images in great detail. Its anti-alias filter gives you better control. It does this by keeping the image more realistic by avoiding artificial patterns and filters.

The on-sensor phase-detection and in-built autofocus allow you to focus more on the minute details of each image.

Nikon D3300 Overview

The Nikon D3300 is often described as the best budget or entry-level camera on the market. However, do not be dismayed by the term ‘budget’ because this camera comes packed with features that can put most DSLRs on the market to shame.


A slightly bigger camera, the Nikon D3300 comes with a 3-inch fixed LCD screen, 11-point autofocus, and an optical viewfinder with a 95% field of view. The handgrip of this camera gives you a secure feeling and the texture offers great finishing.

Image Quality

This camera comes with a 24.2 MP DX sensor allowing you to take the clearest images. Its 24 bits color depth allows you to generate and capture more natural colors. Its higher and larger sensor specs make it possible to capture natural light at a larger scale, giving its images a more natural feel.

It has a superior video recording capability of 1080/60 p HD and exclusive movie recording features. Moreover, its 3D tracking AF system and AF assist illuminator are unheard of in cameras in this price range.

Canon SL1 vs Nikon D3300 Comparison

These cameras are products of rival brands and thus there are many differences in their build, features, and image quality. These cameras have several technical similarities too. All these features reflect how these cameras are still technically relevant.


The Canon SL1 and Nikon D3300 are both entry-level DSLRs and have several similarities which include their high shutter speeds, wide ISO range, screen size. These features show how these cameras can still compete with high-end professional cameras out there.

ISO Range

Both these cameras have an ISO range of 100-12800. This signifies the light sensitivity of the camera. These high ISO ranges allow you to capture images in low light conditions and complement the shutter speeds very well.

Screen Size

The cameras sport a 3-inch rear LCD fixed screen. Along with this, they have an Optical Viewfinder with a 95% field view. This makes both of them ideal to capture small to mid-range wide-angle shooting.

Shutter Speed

The Canon SL1 and the Nikon D3300 have minimum and maximum shutter speeds of 30 seconds and 1/4000 seconds respectively. In essence, it measures how much time an image can be exposed to light.

The fast shutter speeds that these cameras offer allow you to capture fast-moving objects, but are not recommended for professional sports photography.

Connectivity and Storage

These cameras come with a USB 2.0 connector which allows you to transfer images with ease. In addition to that, they have a mini HDMI port. None of these offer Bluetooth and WIFI compatibility.

When it comes to storage, both of them support SD, SDHC SDXC, and hence, offer a lot of options in terms of storing your pictures.


The Canon SL1 and Nikon D3300 have a lot of differences such as their sensors, and video capabilities. While the Canon SL1 is smaller in size, the Nikon D3300 can capture better quality images thanks to its sensor and higher image resolution.

Black Nikon DSLR camera beside a black backpack


The sensor is usually a distinguishing feature in cameras and so is the case here. The Canon SL1 hosts an APSC sensor compared to Nikon’s DX sensor. This impacts their crop factor and focal length.

The Canon SL1 and Nikon D3300 have different crop factors, (1.6 in Canon and 1.5 in Nikon) the experienced focal length turns out to be different. Hence, the Canon SL1 allows you to capture images with a slightly larger field of view which can be very helpful in outdoor settings.

The sensor size is different too. While the Nikon D3300 has a sensor size of 23.5 x 15.6 mm, the Canon SL1 has a sensor size of 22.3 x 14.9 mm. The bigger sensor size in the Nikon D3300 captures better quality images as compared to the Canon SL1.


The battery is extremely important if you plan to take your camera on long trips. Here, the Nikon D3300 takes the lead offering almost double the number of shots that the Canon SL1 offers. You can take 380 shots in one charge in the Canon compared to 700 shots in the Nikon.


The Nikon D3300 has a resolution of 24 megapixels whereas the Canon SL1 has a resolution of 18 megapixels. A higher resolution allows you to add more details to the image and gives you the ability to crop it while editing it.

There is a difference in pixel pitch too. The Canon SL1 has a pixel pitch of 4.29 as opposed to Nikon D3300’s 3.89. The Canon SL1 thus has the ability to capture higher quality images because the bigger pixel pitch means that the pixels are further apart from one another. This also gives you a lot more room for zooming in later on.

Similarly, the Canon SL1 has a larger pixel area (18.4) than the Nikon D3300 (15.13). The pixel area determines how much light can be gathered per pixel. A larger pixel area in the Canon SL1, thus, can capture more photons and perform better in lower light conditions.

Pictures per Second

The picture per second or frame per second can be a big deal if you are shooting outdoors or doing wildlife photography. Here, the Nikon D3300 takes the lead with a Frames per second of 5 compared to the Canon SL1’s 4. Although the difference seems small, it matters a lot depending on the situation you are in.

Dimensions and Weight

The Nikon D3300 is slightly larger with dimensions of 124 x 98 x 75.5mm as opposed to the Canon SL1’s 116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4 mm. The Nikon is also a tad bit heavier than its rival, weighing in at 460 g compared to the latter’s 407g.

This is essential when you plan to use the camera for the whole day or travel. A little difference in weight can be the difference between you getting tired or not.

Autofocus and Focus Points

The Nikon D3300 has 11 Focus points compared to Canon SL1’s 9. These focus points allow you more areas of the picture to focus on, thus resulting in a smoother picture. However, the difference is not a lot and both of these have fewer focus points than the professional cameras out there.

The Canon SL1 comes with an inbuilt Autofocus feature while the Nikon D3300 does not. This feature offers great support when you are trying to capture far-off objects. Also, this in-built autofocus makes up for the fewer focus points, while also resulting in smoother and more focused images.

Other smaller differences include:

  • The Canon SL1 has a touch screen that allows its users to navigate around the camera easily. Nikon D3300, on the contrary, offers keypad controls.
  • The screen resolution is different too. The Nikon D3300 has a screen resolution of 921,000 dots while the Canon SL1 offers a screen resolution of 1,040,000 dots.
  • The outputs differ too. The Canon offers a 14 bit Raw while the Nikon has a 12 bit RAW output option.
  • The Canon SL1 has an anti-alias filter while the Nikon D3300 does not. This filter stops interference patterns from ruining your picture (although it can be counterintuitive too).

Most Distinguishing Feature

The Nikon D3300 has preeminent video recording capabilities offering a maximum resolution of 60p in HD. This is higher in comparison to the Canon SL1’s 30p HD.

When it comes to movie recording, here too, the Nikon D3300 takes the lead by being the only camera that offers a dedicated movie recording feature. Using this feature, you can record videos in cinema-quality. This is a big deal for photographers who plan to use this camera for recording videos for social media.

By offering both video and movie recording features, the Nikon D3300 is able to attract the attention of more users, especially those who are looking to start their own YouTube channels.

A close-up image of Canon camera

When to Use the Canon SL1

This camera is a great choice if you are new to photography. It has a touch-based screen which can be extremely useful in navigating around the camera and adjusting settings such as setting the focal points. Its nine autofocus points provide no challenge while capturing images.

If you love traveling and plan to take your camera with you, the Canon SL1 should be your first choice. It is compact in size, and light in weight and you can fit it along in your baggage easily. Its lightweight would not bother you while you carry it around all day either.

When to Use the Nikon D3300

The Nikon D3300 has more focus points and excellent video-making capabilities. Alongside that, it comes at a lower price. All this makes it the go-to camera in the following situations.


The Nikon D3300 is one of the lowest-priced DSLRs in the market and is even priced lower than its rival. So, if you are low on budget and are looking for an entry-level, full-featured camera, this must be on top of your list.

Wildlife Photography

Offering a Picture per second rate of 5, the Nikon D3300 makes for a good companion if you love wildlife photography. This swift picture per the second rate allows you to capture continuous images. Also, better battery health is just a cherry on top!

Video Recording

If you are a potential YouTuber or are looking for a DSLR to capture short films then the Nikon D3300 is a great choice. Its high video resolution can help you capture videos of the highest quality. Also, its movie recording feature would help you capture videos in cinema quality and organize them accordingly.

Which Camera Is Better?

The Nikon D3300 and Canon SL1 are both excellent entry-level cameras with a plethora of great features. However, the Nikon D3300 takes the edge here.

The Nikon D3300 offers higher image resolution, higher battery health, better video, and movie-making capabilities, and is a more advanced camera overall. If that was not enough to convince you then hear this: it does all of this despite being the cheaper of the two options.

However, if you are looking for a more compact camera, then and only then might the Canon SL1 interest you. If you can handle the extra weight and slightly bigger dimensions and want a lower-priced option then go for the Nikon D3300!


In the Canon SL1 vs Nikon D3300 comparison, the Nikon D3300 comes out on top thanks to its better image resolution, and video making capabilities. With the Nikon D3300 you can capture wildlife photos and movies, all that in a lower price range!